SOUTHERN ISLES – A Peak Down Below

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SOUTHERN ISLES – A Peak Down Below

Thanks to her trademe listing (ex Ian McDonald) we get to have a peek down below on the 36’ Southern Isles.

Built by Tom Wells at Wakatahuri, Forsyth Bay, Pelorus Sound & launched in 1953 she has a beam of 10’6” & draws 5’.

Her zoom zoom is via a 127hhp Gardner 6LX.

She was featured on WW before in Dec 2017 – link below, where you will find lots of history from John Wicks.


Te Anau



I was recently contacted by Mike O’Dwyer in regard to boat that is currently visiting Napier, Mike’s home town.

It is called Te Anau, currently owned by Mike and Julie Trewern from Port Chalmers.

Designed by Henry Miller (Miller and Tunnage) originally as a trawler, Te Anau has been converted to a  now a very comfortable live-aboard measuring just over 50’ with a 13’ beam and a 6’ 6” draft.

Te Anau was launched in 1956 after being built at Scotts boatyard in Invercargill from Tallowood, an Australian native timber belonging to the Ucalypt species. It is a naturally oily timber with a high tannin content.

Scotts boatyard mainly used Tallowwood for their boat construction.

The vessel is powered by a 170hp DAF 6 cylinder diesel motor. Originally powered by a GM this engine was replaced by a DAF which after 55,000 hours was replaced by the current engine.

Forty-eight of theses motors were imported in the sixties to power the Chatham Island crayfish boats.

Mike and Julie are currently on a prolonged cruise and after leaving NZ in Sept 2016 have visited Queensland, New Caladonia, Vanuatu and Fiji returning to NZ in November last year.

They plan to cruise for another 18 months which may include another offshore stint.








I have been contacted by Simon Manning on-behalf of a friend of his who is trying to track down a Marlborough Sounds launch named Wai-iti.

Wai-iti was possibly built c.1950’s by Swanson. Simon’s thinking around Swanson is based on her sheer and the location near Blackwood Bay and Picton. Although Simon commented that the chine forward is a bit unusual for a Swanson.

Back in her day, Wai-iti was based at Mistletoe Farm, in Onahau Bay (Queen Charlotte Sound) and was owned by Jim and Jo Vogel.  They apparently had 2 boats; ‘Aqua Lady’ which was a speed machine used for waterskiing and “Wai-iti” which was used for picking up guests and supplies in Picton and for fishing trips – which were legendary. Wai-iti was white and quite elegant but unassuming.  Simon’s mother and others he has spoken to, do remember the boat but don’t know what happened to her, or where she is now.

The people trying to locate Wai-iti have a genuine and special reason for doing so and will be visiting NZ, so woodys – it will be a very cool thing to be able to find out what became of her.

11-06-2018 Update from Simon Manning –

08-06-2018 Update – photos below of Wai iti / Sea Shanty that Chris’s brother, Chris, took during last weekend at Mana Marina.





A Visit to Colin Brown’s Omaha Boat Shed 


Susan Paul

Anita > Maharitia







A Visit to Colin Brown’s Omaha Boat Shed 

A coupe of weeks ago I gave mate a hand to take his clinker dinghy to Colin Brown’s yard at Omaha. Steve inherited the dinghy from his father-in-law & she was in need of a little TLC. I intro’ed Steve to Colin & as they say the rest is history 🙂 Forgot to say – Colin originally built the clinker.

While at the yard we had a look around the numerous projects under way. The c.1950, Chris Robertson built yacht Susan Jane is nearing completion & you can view the project at the link

In numerious sheds/shelters were:

Anita > Maharitia – the biggest Lidgard built at Kawau Island. A lot of work happening to her & a very OTT re power, check out those Gardiners.

The vessel in the shed is Andromeda, a Townsend yacht that has been stripped for conversion by Dave Walker to a launch.

Of most interst to me was Josh Hawke’s 26′ carvel launch, Waiere. Built in c.1913 Josh restored her over a 6 year period that saw the replacement of her ribs, keel, stem, hood ends, interior, decks, cabin top & re-caulking. 

All Josh knows about her past is at one stage she was on the Kaipara as an open flounder boat. 

A 21hp DaeDong pushes her along very nicely. Any one know more about her past? You can see more photos here


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Screen Shot 2018-04-28 at 8.28.12 pmWAITANGURU

Waitanguru was built by Allan Williams in 1953 & measures approx. 33’ & has a 9’10” beam.

She is kauri carvel planked, & powered by 39 hp Yanmar diesel. Youll see from the trademe photos (thanks to Ian McDonald) that she is very well fitted out, & has been in survey.

Do we know anymore about her?

Input from Harold Kidd – WAITANGURU was built by Alan Williams for Petersen of Te Awamutu. She is 31′ x 11′ and had a 4cylinder Ford originally. She went first to Taupo then to Tauranga in 1966. Gerry Dawson of Caster Bay owned her in the 1970s and kept her at Milford. By 2001 she was owned back in Tauranga by Les and Pam Dawson and used for charter game fishing. A very able boat.

13-05-2018 Update from Ron Dawson 

Waitanguru was built in 1949 I beleive on spec and bought by Frank Peterson of Piopio in the King Country. He finished the boat and kept in Milford. My father bought the boat in 1967. In 1968 dad raised the dodger and kept Waitanguru in Milford until he sold the boat in 1988. The boat originally had a Coventry diesel motor which was replaced with a 60hp Ford diesel in the early to mid 60s. Dad replaced that motor to a 72hp Ford diesel late 60s.  Waitanguru went to Gulf Harbour for a couple of years and then to Taupo about 1990. I’m not to sure when the boat was moved to Tauranga. I do know Waitanguru had an outboard motor on the  stern trolling for trout on Lake Taupo. The boat length was 28 feet plus boarding platform. 

Waitanguru’s name comes from a place on the road from Piopio out to the coast at Marokopa in the King Country. 

Shemara + Laughing Lady in the spotlight



The photo above shows the ketch Shemara being launched in Wellington 0n the 9th August 1958, it looks a very miserable day – the wee girl I’m sure would rather be elsewhere. Photo ex Lew Redwood > fb.

Do we know what became of Shemara?

Input below from Gavin Pascoe

I own Sherama. She’s moored at Clyde Quay Wellington. 23′ LOA but feels more like 26 or 28′. She was Roydon Thomas’s first design. Built by Frank Ballinger. That’s him with his two sons Peter and Trevor, who are both still active boating in Wellington. She’s an awesome boat, Australian hardwood to the waterline, Alaskan cedar above. There’s footage of her being hauled up to Grafton Road prior to her launching (plus other cool footage) here: Many, many stories go with both the boat and Roydon Thomas. Stories of Roydon Thomas’ exploits are legion. Some clean ones may be read here:

Shemara was never ketch rigged. People would call her a sloop as she carries one main and one jib at a time. However her mast is stepped quite well aft in comparison with most sloops, and therefore strictly speaking is more accurately described as a cutter. Though I’m no expert in the finer points of these matters: and

And speaking of miserable days – the November 1963 photo below of the Oriental Bay boat harbour in Wellington, is proof of why they build such sturdy vessels so down there 🙂


Not often a classic woody graces the cover of a NZ boating mag

When you are out & about, pick up a copy of the May issue of Boating NZ, they feature Laughing Lady, post launching at the Mahurangi Regatta. Great story & photos. You can see / read about her restoration > launching at the link below (lots of links to stories). There is also a feature on my boat builder friend, Geoff Bagnall, another great reason to grab a copy 😉

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Matira 4sale

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Matira, the 1956 Collings & Bell woody, has featured on WW many times before & is what I call a lucky boat, lucky in that her owner has an appreciation for classic woodys & spends what is needed to keep her in spectacular condition.

Due to personal reasons, Matira is now for sale & in my eyes would be the best classic wooden launch on the market.

Over the last 2 ½ years she has had a rolling re-fit that has included re-powering with twin Yanmar 110hp diesels & numerous other significant mechanical work.

The mechanical work has been matched by just about new everything inside. For more details, view the trademe listing (link below) , from where todays photos come from.

The photo below was sent to me by Bryce Strong, a previous owner of Matira, & shows her sporting a steadying sail –